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Comedian Dana Gould explains how to make TV in 2017, when ‘all programs are niche programs’

Gould's horror-comedy show on IFC, “Stan Against Evil,” just started its second season.

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“Stan Against Evil” stars John C. McGinley (L), Janet Varney (R) and creator Dana Gould (center)
“Stan Against Evil” stars John C. McGinley (L), Janet Varney (R) and creator Dana Gould (center)
Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Not so long ago, a genre-bending “horror-comedy” TV show that blends elements of “The X-Files” with “All in the Family” probably couldn’t have gotten made. But in 2016, IFC made “Stan Against Evil” — and it did well enough that it made a second season, too, which started Nov. 1.

“I did not think anybody would want to do this,” said “Stan Against Evil” creator Dana Gould on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. “To paraphrase Andy Kindler, my demographic is ‘Men my age who are me.’”

The show centers on Stanley Miller (John C. McGinley, who you might know as Dr. Cox from “Scrubs”), an aging sheriff inspired partly by Gould’s father, who gets roped into an unlikely supernatural plot. Gould said there’s a direct through-line to the show from the things he’s loved most since childhood: Horror movies and comedy.

“It is a niche program, but now all programs are niche programs, unless you’re ‘The Good Doctor’ or something like that,” he said.

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On the new podcast, Gould talked about how the audience’s relationship to TV content has changed in the aftermath of cable and the internet. He said he doesn’t worry too much about how people watch “Stan Against Evil,” choosing to focus on the show itself.

“I’ve always had the theory that, ‘The public wants what it gets,’” he said. “If I, as a craftsman, do what I do and put it out there, then people will find it. Every time I’ve tried to second-guess what people want, it’s just garbage.”

Gould is also a stand-up comedian and spent seven years as a writer for “The Simpsons.” Although he considers the stand-up work vital to keeping his sense of humor fresh, he said it’s steering into what’s possible on TV that is putting his children through school.

“Evolution does not favor the strongest,” Gould said. “It favors that which is most adaptable to change. And it’s not just show business, it’s every business — unless you’re in the prison guard union. That’s a big business, putting people in prison.”

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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